Prayer for Persons affected by HIV & AIDS
Dear friends in Christ:
Informed by new trends in the HIV/AIDS pandemic by the Executive Council's committee on HIV/AIDS, I am moved to invite our congregations to a time of reflection and observance about this continuing malady amongst us.
We can give thanks for the encouraging progress against the disease in some of the developed countries where many infected people are living longer and the rate of infection among gay men has slowed or declined. Unfortunately, at the same time, there is an alarming rise in HIV infections in communities of color, young heterosexual men and women, drug users, and older married women. And while people are living longer with the disease, there is still no cure and no vaccine to prevent it.
The pandemic continues to be one of the most serious health concerns in the world. Infection rates are increasing alarmingly in many regions, notably central Africa, southeast Asia, and the Indian sub-continent. The costs of caring for people with AIDS are effectively prohibitive in these regions. Many countries face economic decline because of the devastation of the disease among working age people.
A strong and ongoing ministry to all people affected by HIV/AIDS continues to deserve a high priority in the outreach of the Episcopal Church. I am so grateful for the compassionate witness undertaken by our church in response to this disease over the years. That response is still needed.
Therefore, I hereby invite all congregations of our Church to a Day of Prayer for Persons affected by HIV/AIDS, as encouraged by our General Convention. Such a day might be observed in October on the Sunday closest to St. Luke's Day (October 18) if convenient; or otherwise on the Feast Day of Constance and her Companions in Memphis (September 9) or some other appropriate time.
I urge all members of the Episcopal Church to support this observance with their prayers and presence, and to take part in this important ministry according to their individual gifts and talents.
P.S. Appropriate materials may be requested from the home page of the National Episcopal Aids Coalition
The Most Reverend Frank T. Griswold
XXV Presiding Bishop and Primate
The Episcopal Church, USA